Crazies promise to abandon California public schools?

October 21, 2007

No, the news is not that good, really. It’s not really news, either. WorldNet Daily, an on-line publication of borderline sanity, may have left the border.

If only it were a promise, instead of a “call to abandon the schools.”

“We’re calling upon every California parent to pull their child out of California’s public school system,” Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, told WND.

“The so-called ‘public schools’ are no longer a safe emotional environment for children. Under the new law, schoolchildren as young as kindergarten will be sexually indoctrinated and introduced to homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality, over the protests of parents, teachers and even school districts,” he said.

The law at issue went through the California legislature as SB 777, and now bans in school texts and activities any discriminatory bias against those who have chosen alternative sexual lifestyles, Meredith Turney, legislative liaison for Capitol Resource Institute, said.

There are no similar protections for students with traditional or conservative lifestyles and beliefs, however. Offenders will face the wrath of the state Department of Education, up to and including lawsuits.

“So-called ‘public schools?'”

Below the fold, the full text of the law. You’ll note, Dear Reader, that the law includes protections for “students with traditional or conservative lifestyles and beliefs,” under the prohibition of discrimination on the bases of religion or sexual orientation, “or any other characteristic contained in the definition of hate crimes that is contained in the Penal Code.”

The new law will make it a crime to bully homosexual kids. Is that the real reason WND is worried about the bill, that it makes bullying a crime?

Why would anyone want to defend a right to bully kids? The purpose of the law is clear, from its purpose clause:

Existing law states that it is the policy of the state to afford equal rights and opportunities to all persons in the public or private elementary and secondary schools and postsecondary educational institutions of the state regardless of their sex, ethnic group identification, race, national origin, religion, or mental or physical disability and prohibits a person from being subjected to discrimination on those bases and contains various provisions to implement that policy.

Existing law prohibits a teacher from giving instruction, and a school district from sponsoring any activity, that reflects adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, handicap, national origin, or ancestry.

This bill would revise the list of prohibited bases of discrimination and the kinds of prohibited instruction and activities and, instead, would refer to disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic contained in the definition of hate crimes that is contained in the Penal Code. The bill would define disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation for this purpose.

Would you pull your kid out of a public school because she doesn’t have a right to bully anybody?

Critics of the bill object even to correcting English usage on forms asking information about students; forms may now ask “gender” rather than the more gauche “sex.” California’s Catholics for the Common Good found that correction a threat, somehow:

“Who knows what the consequences would be of deleting the definition of ‘sex’ of a child as a biological fact and replace it with ‘gender,’ a subjective term to be determined by the student. The legislature never investigated the cost of accommodating student preferences for lavatory and locker room facilities.” Read the rest of this entry »

American flag display: Wall of shame

October 21, 2007

Somebody had to do it. has a page dedicated to erroneous and disrespectful displays of the U. S. flag — a “what not to do directory.

That site also links to this one.

Please display your flags properly.


Luba’s examples at his blog only make the point sharper.  See especially the cartoon at the top of his post.

Vouchers as Oreos: Crumbs for the kids

October 21, 2007

Here’s the infamous “Oreo® cookie” ad by the pro-voucher Richard and Linda Eyre, in the 30-second version:

I have a few questions for the Eyres and their Modified Vampire Voucher program:

1. Private schools are few and far between in Utah — where is a kid supposed to find a school?

2. National statistics tracked by the Department of Education show Utah at the bottom of the per-student spending list. Were Utah spending $7,500/year/student, Utah would rank comfortably near the top. Where did you get your figures for spending in Utah, and why do they differ from the national statistics?

3. Are you saying that, if vouchers cut student loads at public schools, no teachers or classrooms would be cut? I don’t see that guarantee in the law, and I’m wondering why you’re claiming something like that will occur.

4. How many kids need to leave the average public school classroom before there is a significant increase in money left over for the rest of the kids, under your formula? By “significant,” I mean at least 10% increases, or with your statistics, $750/pupil. My quick, in-my-head calculations show that, if only rich kids leave, we need to get 5 rich students , with the lowest vouchers, out of that 30-student class in order to get a significant increase in spending. That’s 17% of the students.

If 17% of the students left Utah’s public schools, how much would your program cost? How many private schools would need to be created to accommodate that percentage?

5. You say Utah spends about $7,000/student, and you suggest that Utah should be spending nearly $10,000/student. In order to get a $3,000/student increase in that classroom, you’d need to get 10 rich students to leave, or 33%. How soon do you think you can get a third of the students to leave Utah’s public schools?

6. You say teachers should lose their jobs if students leave public schools for private schools. Why? Studies show that generally it is the best students who leave public schools for private schools. If their teachers are punished . . . well, explain just what it is you really advocate?

7. When I published the research studies at the U.S. Department of Education, we published studies showing that reduction in classroom size helped student achievement — a measurable amount once classroom size got down to 18 students, and significantly once classroom size got down to 15 students per class. By your figures, we’d need to get half of all students to leave Utah’s public schools to get down to 15 kids per class — without firing any of the bad teachers. How long will it take to get that reduction? How much will it cost?

8. If we can’t get a third of all students to leave the public schools, we’re still stuck with a massive shortfall in funding. What’s your backup plan, since getting a third of all students to leave is a stupid idea with zero chance of success? When you’re done hammering at the foundations of public education, what then?

9. Do the good people at Nabisco approve of your abuse of their cookies?

Eyre’s program may look neat as Oreos, but it leaves only crumbs for the kids. Taking money out for vouchers does almost nothing to contribute to solutions for Utah’s education problems.

Below the fold: The longer version of the ad.

Read the rest of this entry »

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